People in the Northeast have transformed bamboo and cane into houses, fencing, mats, baskets, tools, hats, sieves and even clothing items. The uses that bamboo and cane are put to varies among the people in the hills and the people in the plains of Manipur.
In the plains, baskets and fishing traps are made in large quantities for commercial purposes. They are sold at the local haats or marketplaces. In the hills, cane and bamboo are used to craft furniture, household implements, and even houses, although many tribes today do make large quantities of cane and bamboo products for commercial purposes as well. Even the forms of the baskets vary between the hills and the plains. The hill people use their baskets to store food, grains, and clothes and for carting things over long distances. In the plains, the baskets are more decorative and less utilitarian.
Tribal baskets are woven for personal use and have exquisite and intricate patterns worked on them. Among the variety of baskets, the chengbon has a domed lid made of bamboo. These have a square body of checks, in black and white, rest on four prominent legs and are used for storing clothes. Another special feature of Manipuri basket ware is the variety of bamboo fish traps which are exquisitely crafted. Besides baskets, bamboo is used to make a host of other items in this state. A village blacksmith, for instance, uses bamboo to make bellows and so does the weaver to make looms.
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